Friday MotoGP practice cancelled after cargo plane breakdown

MotoGP freight

Friday practice at the Argentina MotoGP round has been cancelled as some teams continue to wait on equipment due to a broken-down freight plane.

According to a statement from MotoGP, two planes suffered technical problems during the journey from Indonesia, where the last round took place, to Argentina.

One load of cargo remains stuck in Kenya, where a plane is awaiting a replacement part before it can get back into the air, despite optimism earlier this week that the issue had been overcome.

According to Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta in a press conference a short time ago, the factory Ducati Team, VR46, and Gresini Racing all have freight on the aeroplane in question.

There will be no track activity on Friday, while the Saturday timetable has seen an extra session for each class added.

That is, in net terms, each class loses one practice relative to a normal grand prix weekend.

Sunday morning’s Warm Up sessions have been extended slightly, with race start times unchanged.

READ MORE: Ezpeleta explains how Russian sanctions have exacerbated the problem

A statement from MotoGP explained the issue as follows:

Logistical issues affecting freight for the FIM MotoGP World Championship have obliged a schedule change for the upcoming Gran Prix of Argentina. Five cargo flights were scheduled to ship paddock material from Lombok, Indonesia, to Tucuman, close to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, in the week following the Indonesian GP.

Due to two separate issues affecting two different flights, the final freight for the Argentina GP will now arrive in the country on Friday. The flight contains freight for all classes of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, with changes to the time schedule therefore obliged for all classes.

Free Practice sessions will now begin and take place for all classes on Saturday morning. Of the sessions that normally take place on Friday, only one has been cancelled, with the other moved to Saturday. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon, with a slightly later start time.

Warm Up sessions on Sunday morning have been extended, with each race set to begin at the same start time as originally scheduled.

The trip from Lombok to Termas consisted of five flights. Three of the planned cargo routes took freight from Lombok to Tucuman via technical stops in Mombasa, Lagos and Brazil. The two other routes saw freight planned to travel from Lombok to Doha, Doha to Accra in Ghana and then on to Tucuman.

The chain of events started last Wednesday when one of the five airplanes suffered a problem during a technical stop in Mombasa, Kenya. The first plane which had already arrived in Tucuman was then returned to Lombok to collect more freight, and unfortunately has also suffered a technical problem during a layover this past Wednesday night.

As of Thursday morning local time in Argentina, one cargo load remains grounded in Mombasa, Kenya. The plane is awaiting a part in order to return to the air, with two parts – one dispatched from Europe and another back up part, dispatched from the Middle East – already en route.

The plane is expected to take off this evening and will follow the route from Mombasa via Lagos and Brazil, arriving in Tucuman on Friday.

Dorna and IRTA would like to thank the teams and paddock personnel for their effort and understanding, as well as the promoter of the Grand Prix of Argentina for their invaluable support and assistance.

We also would like to thank fans for their patience, both those in Argentina and those watching around the world, and we look forward to enjoying some fantastic track action and racing on Saturday and Sunday.

New schedule

Start Finish Start Finish Start Finish Class Session
Local/GMT-3 AEST AEDT**    
Saturday, April 2
08:45 09:25 21:45 22:25 22:45 23:25 Moto3 Free Practice 1
09:40 10:20 22:40 23:30 23:40 00:20* Moto2 Free Practice 1
10:35 11:20 23:35 00:20* 00:35* 01:20* MotoGP Free Practice 1
11:35 12:15 00:35* 01:15* 01:35* 02:15* Moto3 Free Practice 2
12:30 13:10 01:30* 02:10* 02:30* Moto2 Free Practice 2
13:25 14:10 02:25* 03:10* MotoGP Free Practice 2
14:35 14:50 03:35* 03:50* Moto3 Qualifying Practice 1
15:00 15:15 04:00* 04:15* Moto3 Qualifying Practice 2
15:30 15:45 04:30* 04:45* Moto2 Qualifying Practice 1
15:55 16:10 04:55* 05:10* Moto2 Qualifying Practice 2
16:25 16:55 05:25* 05:55* MotoGP Free Practice 3
17:05 17:20 06:05* 06:20* MotoGP Qualifying Practice 1
17:30 17:45 06:30* 06:45* MotoGP Qualifying Practice 2
Sunday, April 3
09:30 09:50 22:30 22:50 Moto3 Warm Up
10:00 10:20 23:00 23:30 Moto2 Warm Up
10:30 11:00 23:30 00:00* MotoGP Warm Up
12:00 01:00* Moto3 Race (21 laps)
13:20 02:20* Moto2 Race (23 laps)
15:00 04:00* MotoGP Race (25 laps)

* Next day after local time
** Note: Daylight savings ends in the applicable Australian states/territories on Sunday morning at 03:00 (clocks turned back)

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